Movies, stories, and songs are a great way to gather insight into the viewpoints of others and ourselves. They are wonderful, small windows through which we can look, which hopefully pique our attention to explore the philosophers who have dug much deeper than most of the artists. These sources of entertainment also tend to provide us with glimpses of popular thought. Exploring media allows us to see worldviews which are present in our culture or worldviews which are being presented to shape and change culture. One of the topics I have seen come up more frequently, as of late, is that of free will. Neuroscience, psychology, and biology have all been advanced greatly over the past few decades and they appear to be culminating into a conclusion that our lives are determined by our genes and our circumstances. In the minds of many, such a conclusion would overthrow religion. Therefore, it is important that we as Christians know what we believe about the will.
It doesn't matter which worldview you accept in life, any position is going to produce its nagging questions. Most people don't seem to have too much of a problem with the dissonance, either because they're unaware of the bigger questions or because it ultimately doesn't matter to them. They can go on with life and never give the problems inherent in their worldviews a second thought. That does not at all describe me. The big questions nag me, and nag me, and nag me - and will likely do so until the day I die. While I'm trying to find that middle ground and come to terms with the fact that mystery exists and isn't always bad, I don't think I can ever stop working through the big questions.
One of these big questions which arise and is particularly strong in Reformed Theology, is the question of how evil originated. If God created good humans in a good world, and if human action is the result of acting upon one's desires, then how could sin have ever come about? If a good, all-powerful God created a good world, then any deficiency which arises seems to be attributable to God. But Christians know that can't be the case, for then God would be evil.
In my view, one of the main problems with libertarian free (LFW) will is that it's groundless. By removing causation from an individual's choice, only randomness is left as an explanation, which is really no explanation at all. To show this problem, I like to refer to the time machine analogy.
Most consider *lunatics to be poor, helpless individuals who are constrained by their natures. Yet we must note that their nature is actually one of utter freedom. There are no volitional constraints upon the lunatic. Every option is available to them. Society may bid them conform, but the lunatic is oblivious as he chooses to disrobe in public. Science, philosophy, and logic bid the lunatic to conform, but the lunatic defies them as he chooses to "fly" from a third story apartment. And while to the observer of this flight the lunatic clearly fails in his attempt, observation and experience hold no constraints on the lunatic, as his endeavor to fly, in his mind at least, was a smashing success. We consider the lunatic chained to his aberrant nature, and in one sense, this is very true. The lunatic's freedom is often quite catastrophic to his well-being. Yet we must also recognize that he is really more free than are we, at least if the ability to choose is what defines freedom.
There isn't really any such thing as evil, just events, actions, and feelings that a majority of individuals and culturesdislike enough to cause them to band together and suppress others who perform such acts. Morality on atheism is just majoritized preferences or observed patterns for bettering survival chances and/or pleasure of the species.
The Eastern religions and pantheism, on the other hand, tend to dismiss evil as a figment of our imaginations, or misguided ignorance - opposing our very strong intuitive notions of evil as malicious injustice that needs righted. Rather than making up a subjective fiction, like atheists, they acknowledge evil for what it logically is - nonexistent. In a world where everything is god, and everything is nature, what can possibly be "wrong?" Evil, then, is simply just a word used to describe a lack of understanding. Polytheists (if they exist anymore), like the ancient Greeks, end up clinging to a pantheon of gods that are just as tainted with evil as mortal man - leaving out any hope of resolution. Evil is just a natural truth that is a byproduct of an agent's choices and desires. And really, it's just a massive power struggle for the pantheon to fulfill their own desires, so evil ends up simply being fated inconvenience for those who are in the way of the more powerful. Evil is just the collateral damage of another's pursuit of fulfillment. We exist at the whims of gods, and maintain our existence by being of use to them or staying out of their way.